Delaware Vote Tracker

HB200 – The Clean Water Bill – Third Time the Charm?

House Bill 200 is known as the Clean Water Bill. Don’t we have clean water in Delaware? Well, no, not really. Many of the State’s waters do not meet water quality standards to support their designated uses, such as for drinking, swimming or supporting aquatic life. We need to improve our state’s infrastructure to deliver cleaner water. This bill is not one big infrastructure project. What it does is create a Clean Water Trust Account that would that would amass and then deliver funding for water infrastructure projects that improve the quality of the State’s water supply and waterways.

The Trust Account will be overseen and managed by a Clean Water Trust Oversight Committee, which will receive recommendations for funding projects that are approved and recommended by the Water Infrastructure Advisory Council, (WIAC), the county Conservation Districts’, experts in the effected Cabinet agencies and other public input with the goal of assisting municipal and county governments and others in implementing affordable water quality projects.

So basically, this bill sets up a bank account and a committee to recommend spending the money in the bank account.

So why has this bill floundered twice before? What is this bill missing?

Money in the bank account.

If you are going a trust account to store funds for projects, you better fill that account with money, and previous versions of this bill did not provide for a revenue source other than the General Fund, and Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf views that as a big no no. “We don’t do that in Delaware,” he said at the 38th RD Summer Picnic several years ago. The “that” I suppose is passing new spending priorities like infrastructure without specifying the funding source and that funding source cannot be the General Fund.

House Bill 200 SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Longhurst, Heffernan, Baumbach, Bentz, Brady, Carson, Chukwuocha, Gray, Griffith, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Lambert, Matthews, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Moore, Osienski, D.Short, Shupe
Townsend, Brown, Hansen, Lockman, Mantzavinos, S.McBride, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Walsh
Current Status: Out of Committee 1/13/21

From the language of the bill, there does not appear to be any revenue sources included once again. El Somnambulo at Delaware Liberal says he has been told there will be a “$50 Million revenue stream,” for this bill, but I am not sure what that means. A one time $50M deposit? An annual stream of $50M each year? From where? And even if that is true, that is woefully insufficient, given that we have projects lined up totaling $700 Million.

Hey Val, if you need more money, pass Kowalko’s Tax Bill. So anyway, this bill has been passed out of committee and could get a vote on the virtual House floor soon.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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